Facebook is rolling out a drastically revamped news feed over the next few weeks, bringing a cleaner, visually-driven experience to its billion plus users. With better organization, room for tons of photos and content (and less for ads), and seven segmented news feed options; the new Facebook seems like the answer to many common user gripes.
In taking a tour of the news feed, there’s one thing noticeably absent: the word “Facebook.” Using just a white-and-blue “f” to represent the company, Facebook is the new Nike of the digital world — no intro necessary. In addition, users will enjoy a much more streamlined and simple interface. “We wanted to remove all the chrome,” Facebook software engineer Chris Struhar told Mashable. The cleanup resulted in a clutter-free starting point that funnels all your tools, apps, pages, and more into a black sidebar.
Perhaps the biggest change is the implementation of seven different news feeds. The main feed will stay more or less the same; pulling in a selection of stories from all friends and Pages using Facebook’s standard algorithm. However, users now have the option to pick and choose between “All Friends,” “Following” (which displays posts from “liked” Pages), “Photos,” “Groups,” “Games,” “Music,” and “Most Recent.” Additionally, to accommodate its increasingly mobile user base, the updates were designed with a mobile-first mentality— well played, Facebook.
Since we’re in the business of social media, it’s only natural to ask what the big picture of these changes will look like for brands and marketing professionals. So far, it’s a bit up in the air, but the benefits far outweigh the potential drawbacks.
- The improved user interface is designed to display photos bigger and better, giving more attention to brand content— Sponsored Stories included
- Links will follow suit, showing up with a more prominent preview. Page fans will be better able to see what brand content is about, prompting more clicks and more web traffic. This is great news all around, whether you’re an agency with a company blog or an e-commerce company.
- Third-party video providers (think YouTube, Vimeo, etc.) will now have a level playing field with native content. Full-size videos with an easier way to play will get more clicks, more traffic, and more engagement.
- Although the traditional news feed isn’t dead and gone, the advent of different streams will undoubtedly weaken EdgeRank’s hold on brands. With so many filtering options, how many users will stick exclusively with their traditional news feed? Probably not many. On the “Following” feed, users will see every update from “Liked” Pages.
- As we just said, users have a hugely upgraded filtering system at their disposal. Sure, they’ll be seeing every brand update— if they look at their “Following” feed at all. Only time will tell if segmentation boosts engagement or takes a major toll.
- As of right now, Facebook has no solid plans for handling advertisers within its new format. While changes could lead to more robust options with refined targeting, AdWeek reported that existing advertisers received an email saying that “right now ad units aren’t going to change.” As with the engagement uncertainty, brands will just have to wait this one out.
Overall, we’re excited to experience the upgraded news feed and are glad to see some much-needed changes coming to fruition. The fear of engagement completely tanking is a valid one, but in terms of ads, we’re willing to bet they’ll have a strategy worked out by next week. Is Facebook going to alienate the sources of millions, even billions, of dollars in revenue? No way. If anything, they’re going to make life cushier with a better variety of options. And if said variety helps cut down some of users’ frustrations with social ads in the first place (here’s hoping!), it’s a win-win.
Are you excited to start leveraging Facebook’s new features?
Constine, Josh. “For Businesses, Facebook’s Redesign Means Bigger Ads, A Pages Feed, But A Friends-Only Section Too.”techcrunch.com . N.p., 7 Mar. 2013. Web. 8 Mar. 2013. <http://techcrunch.com/2013/03/07/for-businesses-facebook-redesign-means-bigger-ads-a-pages-feed-but-friends-only-section-too/>.
Peterson, Tim. “Marketers Puzzle Over Lack of Ads in Facebook’s News Feeds.” adweek.com. N.p., 7 Mar. 2013. Web. 8 Mar. 2013. <http://www.adweek.com/news/technology/marketers-puzzle-over-lack-ads-facebooks-new-feeds-147767>.
Simonds, Seth. “What the New Facebook Newsfeed Means for Brands.” adage.com. N.p., 8 Mar. 2013. Web. 8 Mar. 2013. <http://adage.com/article/digitalnext/facebook-newsfeed-means-brands/240214/ >.
Taylor, Chris. “Facebook Gets Simpler, More Complicated.” mashable.com. N.p., 7 Mar. 2013. Web. 8 Mar. 2013. <http://mashable.com/2013/03/07/facebook-news-feed-change-clean/>.
Taylor, Chris. “Hands On With the New Facebook .” mashable.com. N.p., 7 Mar. 2013. Web. 8 Mar. 2013. <http://mashable.com/2013/03/07/hands-on-with-the-new-facebook/>.